This week we look at the latest releases from Keegan Dobbelsteyn, Colony Recording Club and Artifiseer.
Keegan Dobbelsteyn – Overdue
Keegan Dobbelsteyn returns with a new three track EP. Overdue is Dobbelsteyn’s first new release in more than three years and finds the Fredericton-based songwriter surrounded by a new group of musicians who help to bring his revised sound to life. Backed by bassist Keegan Manson-Curry and drummer Erik Sample, the three tracks on this EP take Dobbelsteyn’s songwriting through a mix of heavy rock and catchy pop familiarity, leaving behind the folkier sounds that defined 2016’s Me and All My Friends.
Although Dobbelsteyn took a lengthy break between this release and his last, he continued to perform and collaborate with a range of musicians including cellist Patricia Blakely and fellow Frederictonian Quinn Bonnell. He has performed as a member of Bonnell’s band and appears on his 2019 full length debut, Wonder. He was also recently announced as the latest member of the Fredericton rock band Heat $heets, currently working on their debut release.
Perhaps it’s all these and other collaborations that encouraged Dobbelsteyn to expand his songwriting and explore the new sounds and arrangements that make up his latest release. Overdue highlights Dobbelsteyn’s ability to write and perform a range of styles. Together with Manson-Curry and Sample, this trio packs a powerful punch.
Colony Recording Club – (In)
The first thing that stands out on this latest release from Colony Recording Club is the bass tone, followed closely by the subtle guitar, calming vocals and just enough percussive accompaniment to hold it all together. The opening track, RCA2RCA, is a stunner and one that sets the tone for the entire EP.
A lesson in less-is-more songwriting, (In) blends themes of isolation, longing and desperation to create an unexpected feeling of optimism without answers, hope without reason.
For a project founded and based entirely on the concept of long-distance songwriting (each of the group’s three members write and contribute to the project from three different Canadian cities), Colony Recording Club exude a cohesive delivery that far exceeds numerous ensembles who have the privilege of living in the same city and rehearsing in the same room. Varia, the EP’s stand alone instrumental track, showcases the group’s collective vision and in no way sounds as though it was recorded by three separate musicians in three separate sessions in three separate cities. It’s a beautiful mix of catchy, explorative melodies placed above a constant and driving rhythm that acts as both a guide to the track’s momentum and a familiar ground for all three musicians to occasionally reconvene. Colony Recording Club are proof of music’s ability to unite musicians and transcend something as trivial as geography – from Toronto to Calgary to Fredericton.
Artifiseer – Syncretist
Syncretist is the second full-length album from Saint John-based producer/songwriter Ian Livingstone and his solo project, Artifiseer. The album is a major leap forward for Livingstone with his production and songwriting reaching new heights. These eleven tracks confidently showcase a cohesion between vocal performances and compositions that was far less defined on Livingstone’s earlier recordings. Does that constitute a eureka moment? It does for my ears.
There are not a lot of recordings that I would recommend deliberately listening through headphones at near ear-damaging volumes, but there are so many tiny little bits of active sound happening throughout many of these tracks that a quick listen on your phone’s inadequate speakers simply wouldn’t register. The strength of Syncretist lies within the colourful walls of sound Livingstone has created to carry his unusually low, melodic voice forward without ever holding form for more than a breath.
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If you are a New Brunswick artist or group, have new music on the way and would like to be considered for a future edition of Midweek Music Mix, send us the details at gridcitymagazine(at)gmail.com